RP students showcase creative solutions to real-world problems

RP students Don Chua and Chan Min Yi started an umbrellasharing initiative, along with two other teammates. They set up umbrella kiosks along footpaths with no shelter near Woodlands and Admiralty MRT stations during a 10-day trial.
RP students Don Chua and Chan Min Yi started an umbrellasharing initiative, along with two other teammates. They set up umbrella kiosks along footpaths with no shelter near Woodlands and Admiralty MRT stations during a 10-day trial. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

Mr Don Chua, 20, hates getting soaked when it rains.

"I frequently turn up to class drenched when dashing across the unsheltered walkways on my daily commute from Bartley to Woodlands MRT," said the Republic Polytechnic (RP) student. He does not like having a wet brolly in his bag for the rest of the school day too.

This dampener was why he and three other RP students - all enrolled in the diploma in design for user experience course - decided to start an umbrella-sharing initiative for their final-year project.

The initiative, called Sharella, is done in partnership with the Land Transport Authority.

During a 10-day trial in January, the team of four set up umbrella kiosks along unsheltered paths near Woodlands and Admiralty MRT stations.

On average, around 200 commuters used the umbrellas in one hour, said team member Chan Min Yi, 21.

"We conducted the trials throughout both light drizzles and heavy downpours. There was a 100 per cent rate of return. No umbrellas were stolen," she added.

Sharella was one of 54 graduation projects by students from RP's School of Technology for the Arts (STA) that were on display at *Scape in Orchard Road.

The two-day exhibition, titled Symbiosis, was part of an annual showcase of the best projects spanning the polytechnic's creative arts courses.

Close to 400 people had visited the event when it ended yesterday, said organisers.

There was a record number of projects developed in collaboration with industry partners on show this year.

One team, for instance, came up with an educational game with the Ministry of Education that teaches users about food and nutrition.

Another team managed an exhibition that showcased works by artists with disabilities.

Mr Joshua Hong, 43, STA's assistant director (capability and industry), said: "In the years to come, we hope for more meaningful industry engagement, spanning disciplines, as the world faces increasingly complex challenges today."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'RP students showcase creative solutions to real-world problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe